Sara's Story

Sara Nguyen smiling

Brain injury

Sara Nguyen with therapy dog

Life took an unexpected turn for 65-year-old Sara Nguyen when she descended the stairs and lost her footing. Sara crashed to the ground with a force that would alter the course of her life forever. Initially dismissing the severity of her injury, Sara returned home. A month later, another fall led to an emergency visit to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with brain bleeds.

At Medical City Arlington, Sara underwent a series of tests and bilateral craniotomies, placing two titanium plates in her skull. "I don't remember anything, but after the surgery, I couldn't do anything for myself," she recalled. "I couldn't feed myself or anything."

Sara was devastated. "Before my injury, I was taking care of my parents mom was 86, and my father was 97 ... I went to their house every day to care for them and take them anywhere they needed to go," she explained.

Her road to recovery was going to be filled with immense challenges, including loss of balance, cognitive and speech difficulties, memory impairments and the inability to perform basic tasks without assistance.

In search of the best rehabilitation center to aid her on this daunting journey, Sara's daughter researched several options. Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth stood out.

Sara was beyond motivated to get better. "After the injury, I went to the hospital and was there for a month and a half," she recalled. "When I came home one weekend, my father had a stroke and passed away. I feel like I failed him. That's why I try so hard, so I can get back and take care of my mom. I want to be strong and healthy so I can care for her."

From the moment Sara entered BSWIR - Fort Worth, her rehabilitation team, consisting of physician-led therapists, developed a tailored treatment plan. The journey toward her goals began with baby steps—relearning how to walk, regaining her cognitive abilities and rebuilding her strength and endurance. Therapeutic groups, where patients united in exercise and socialization, gave Sara camaraderie and motivation.

As Sara progressed steadily toward her goals, she found joy in being with others. "I loved getting to make bracelets and working in the groups," she exclaimed. "I loved the arm exercise groups and any of the groups where we were exercising together. I liked getting to exercise but also getting to socialize."

Sara vividly recalls the moment when she took her first unassisted steps, feeling a surge of confidence. This turning point fueled her determination to continue her therapies diligently, both within the hospital and at home, where her family provided support.

Looking toward the future, Sara eagerly anticipated her transition to outpatient therapy, excited to resume her role as her mother's caregiver. Throughout her rehabilitation journey, Sara has discovered a newfound appreciation for the power of patience and the importance of familial support.

When asked to reflect on her experience at BSWIR – Fort Worth, Sara warmly praised the dedicated team and expressed gratitude for the positive impact on her life, stating, "I had a good experience here. I like the people here so much. They helped me get back to the way I was. Especially the facility dog. He always made me so happy!"

To those embarking on a similar path of recovery, Sara's advice is simple yet profound, "Just be patient. It takes time to heal."